First draft

The first few “marks” on yesterday’s boring canvas. A good time to step back and look afresh. Many changes ahead. 

Also the first work inspired by my recent travels. I feel great pleasure in moving from the sketchbook to the fabric board at last. 

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Packing for the journey, part 1

Three months away from the studio!!! What to pack?
Never mind what shoes and how many changes of undies – art materials were high on the list.

 I love working with “found objects” so I decided to take a little bundle of somethings-to-stitch-onto: my favourite quilt batting and some pre-painted baby wipes 
Thread is handy too. A little kit of many colours and a few needles:

   

Some objects which places gave me:miscellaneous fibre-ish rubbishI’m especially pleased with the red tangle. It’s waste agave silk from the braid-makers in Fes. 

I couldn’t help myself and have bought a few items:

shiny floss on  skinny cardboard reelsReels of agave silk-which came in the most daunting array of colours-and some silk scraps from traditional weavers in Lyon. 
After all this preparation, I’m sorry to say that I haven’t done a thing with it except mending some clothes. Which was very handy!
I’m learning that I need a more settled space to do composition. Or maybe I haven’t yet established a routine that allows for stitching. That might happen in Paris…

Four on the board

 fabric scraps pinned  to board Today I’ve started the physical work of making four new quilts for my upcoming exhibition. 

I begin with the colour idea and select from my scrap pieces baskets. I love those baskets- sometimes it seems I work more from them than from my big pieces of fabric. No matter how much I take out, they always seem to fill up again. A kind of quilter’s cornucopia. I think they began life as CD storage.

6 small rectangular   baskets  stacked  drawer-fashion in a frame You can see the brown/black scraps basket on the ground in the foreground of the pinboard photo.

I’ve pinned the pieces to a big sheet of Styrofoam. One column for each quilt, graduating from light to dark so I can keep track of how much I have of each. I’ll compose each one separately, but at this stage it’s helpful to see the ingredients in relation to each other. 

Can you guess the inspiration behind my four selections of fabrics?

Unbundling 1

I wrote earlier about sorting and bundling fabrics to make a quilt kit. Like this one:

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Unroll the bundle and spread the fabrics out, paying attention to the piece sizes and the proportion of lights to darks. Think about the feelings and ideas that the colours evoke. Make up a working title that refers to those feelings. I’m calling this Misty Garden for now.

Next step: Composition- how to arrange the fabrics

Sorting the rainbow

One of my favourite ways to make a quilt is to begin with the colours.

neat stack of fabric pieces

New fabric treasures

The first step is the well-filled fabric stash. It’s full of pieces collected as I go

From time to time I sort the pieces into happy groups, trying not to have any orphan pieces left. It’s amazing what goes together!

Fabric in in tidy stacks

15 sets of fabric, ready to make into quilts

Each one will become a quilt, or the beginnings of one. I don’t think about the size of the pieces, or the total amount of fabric, or the design of the quilt. That comes later.

Then I roll them up…

rolled fabric sets

15 fabric bundles

…until the next time I want to start a new project.

If any bundles are still waiting when I have enough new fabric to sort, they might get broken up to make new groups.

This is a very relaxed and pleasing way to create colour combinations and a design challenge for later…